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Workfl ow Management

Focus less on technology, more on workfl ow and people

Intel-GE Care Innovations has developed a four-phase approach to help healthcare organizations prepare for and implement new technology.

By Julie Cheitlin Cherry I

n the fi ght to improve the health of our population, CIOs and other technology executives are being asked to provide solutions. The focus of healthcare technology can be simplifi ed into two mandates: improve quality of

care and create effi ciencies, especially as it relates to caring for the 20 percent of people that consume 80 percent of the healthcare dollars spent. Ironically, success will rely upon the combined ability of providers, payers and technology companies to focus less on the technology and what a specifi c product can do. Instead, the key to achieving measurable results is to integrate technol- ogy into process redesign from the ground up in a way that produces new and improved care-delivery models, processes, relationships and interactions.

Assessment and planning phases are critical Based on years of experience building successful telehealth programs, Intel-GE Care Innovations has developed a four- phase approach to help healthcare organizations prepare for and implement new technology: assessment, planning, implementation and growth. The phases that are most often overlooked are the assessment and planning phases. During the assessment, there are two questions providers and payers should ask themselves:

1. What problem are you trying to solve, and what is the right target population?

2. What is your overall, long-term strategy for care de- livery?

Oftentimes, providers and payers will make two critical mistakes when implementing technology. The fi rst is using technology to care for a patient population that provides little opportunity for clinical or economic gains because the group is either too sick or not sick enough. The second critical mistake many organizations make is to purchase new technology, turn it on and add it to an existing care process, rather than understanding how and where they can integrate the technology solution into a new care-delivery model to

26 March 2012

ensure effectiveness and effi ciency. Going down either of these paths will usually lead to negligible patient benefi ts and added expense for the care provider or payer. Let’s consider one organization that avoided these critical mistakes and deployed the right technology with the right population, reengineering the approach to care to improve quality care and reduce costs.

Humana Cares reengineers telehealth program for CHF patients

Humana Cares, a national division of Humana, approached Care Innovations about integrating the Intel-GE Care Innova- tions Guide into a telehealth program with 2,000 congestive heart failure (CHF) patients in 33 states. The Care Innova- tions Guide is a comprehensive, next-generation remote health management (RHM) solution that provides an online interface allowing clinicians to monitor patients and remotely manage care.

“CHF is one of the most expensive chronic diseases. We knew that if we could increase patient self-management of CHF, the result would be improved health, reduced hospi- talization and ER visits, and lower costs,” says Kate Marcus, R.N., process manager at Humana Cares. “We just needed to fi gure out how to go about doing it and tackle the problem in new ways that maximized the reach of technology.” Considering their overall goals and who the right members were to enroll, Marcus and her team decided to focus on CHF patients who had ER events or hospitalizations within the past year. Some of these members lived in remote areas with limited access to healthcare.

Humana’s team, which included Jean Bisio, president;

Marge Van Gilder, director of fi nance; Debra Kleesattel, direc- tor of operations; Rick Schoppenhorst, director of information management; Kate Marcus, process manager; and Linda Bier- brier, QA and process improvement manager, worked collab- oratively to ensure the organization’s readiness to implement a new model of care during the assessment phase.


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